Ilhan Omar named ‘American Muslim Public Servant of 2021’

Ilhan Omar. Editorial credit: Phil Pasquini / Shutterstock.com

The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has named U.S. representative Ilhan Omar as the “American Muslim Public Servant of 2021” for her “commitment to the public and courage in the face of anti-Muslim bigotry.”

CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad said: “Representative Omar has time and again proven her deep dedication to public service. Her work representing the interests not only of her constituents but of the American people as a whole serves as an example to our community and to the nation.

“Representative Omar has shown tremendous courage in the face of constant attacks from anti-Muslim bigots both inside and outside of Congress, but she has not let the hatred of bigots stop her from serving the American people.

“While some congressional leaders have failed to come to her defence against these disgusting attacks, the American Muslim community and all Americans of conscience stand in solidarity with her.”

Omar was given the award at a gala event on Saturday. While accepting the honour, she said that it had been a “very tough week.” On November 25th a video of a far-right lawmaker, Representative Lauren Boebert went viral on social media in which she made Islamophobic comments about Omar, drawing laughter from a crowd.

The comments drew criticism and Boebret tweeted: “I apologize to anyone in the Muslim community I offended with my comment about Rep. Omar. I have reached out to her office to speak with her directly. There are plenty of policy differences to focus on without this unnecessary distraction.”

Omar said: “Today, I graciously accepted a call from Rep. Lauren Boebert in the hope of receiving a direct apology for falsely claiming she met me in an elevator, suggesting I was a terrorist, and for a history of anti-Muslim hate. Instead of apologising for her Islamophobic comments and fabricated lies, Rep. Boebert refused to publicly acknowledge her hurtful and dangerous comments…

“She instead doubled down on her rhetoric and I decided to end the unproductive call. I believe in engaging with those we disagree with respectfully, but not when that disagreement is rooted in outright bigotry and hate.”

Similarly, Boebert issued her statement in a video she posted on Instagram, said: “I wanted to let her know directly that I had reflected on my previous remarks. Now, as a strong Christian woman who values faith deeply, I never want anything I say to offend someone’s religion. So I told her that. Even after I put out a public statement to that effect. She said that she still wanted a public apology because what I had done wasn’t good enough.”

She went on to attack Omar for her past criticism of Israel, and her calls for the dismantling of Minneapolis Police Department after the murder of George Floyd by a white police officer.

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